After 40-plus years in business, some of my most useful lessons stem not from formal education but rather as a result of the encounters as experiences I have every single day. With that in mind here are six tips for success that you won't find in a business book.
No. 1. Be The Question Person Not The Answer Person
We tend to think that we have to have all the right answers. In fact, the opposite is true. It's okay to share how you solve a problem but it's more important to realize there is more than one way to develop a solution.
No. 2: Be A Problem Solver
Learn how to get things done. Know how who where and why. The key is to combine academic education with practical or common sense. We've all met people who are brilliant but can't figure out how to get out of the rain. Be a problem solver by developing street smarts in addition to academic smarts and consistently stay ahead of the curve.
No. 3: Master Communication- Listen Speak and Write
Utilize listening skills more efficiently. If you're talking you're not learning. Create a climate around yourself personally and professionally where people who communicate with you feel empowered to tell you the truth. Two-way communication is important but in an age where smart phones and email make it easier than ever many of us have forgotten that this is a true art form. Learn to write. Be brief concise and matter-of-fact. Send handwritten notes and build rapport with people at all levels.
No. 4: Be Passionate And Have A Great Attitude
Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it. We all have a choice every day as to the type of attitude we convey through our words and actions. Sure you'll get kicked in the teeth and become irritated now and then. Shake it off and look at it as a hurdle not the tiger in the room. Have a sense of humor and compliment people sincerely. Don't take yourself too seriously and remember - we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
No. 5: Take Risks
Successful people take giant risks. Despite failure being overly cautious stifles accomplishment. Never fear your decisions and don't dwell if they don't end up being the right ones. Take chances and lead with your heart. We've all had influences in life- little league coaches ministers family etc. Examine those influences and decide what's important to you. You are unique and your beliefs will shape your brand in a manner that reflects who you are.
No. 6: Build the Right Relationships
Learn from the best. Look for the superstars and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. Do the small tasks and learn from them. Building the right relationships is key. Developing trust and helping those around you who are going in the right direction means you will be right there along with them. There are many lessons to be learned on the road to success and many more that could fill these pages. Yet these six tips are critical for building a solid foundation leading to a long fulfilling and successful professional life.